Ingredient deal breakers

Look at all these powders!


I’m a mad scientist! [not really]


My head was in the clouds when I was making these oats.  The amount of cocoa powder was nearly double what I ordinarily use, which made it the color of…well…tar.  I tried to balance it out by adding more oats, which made it look like chocolate at least, but resulted in a pretty monstrous breakfast.  Then I went and increased it’s volume even more by adding some protein powder.

I don’t know who makes it, what’s in it, or where it’s from because my sister gave me the tupperwared sample to try out.  That sounds shady, huh.  She’s a trainer, so I don’t think she’s trying to drug me.  Plus she’s got food sensitivities too, so I know it’s dairy free.

*Edited to add* The sample is vegan vanilla protein powder from Arbonne (which I think is a Canadian company?). Despite some internet searching, I have yet to find the powder’s ingredients so if you know it please share.  I want to be sure it isn’t sweetened with fructose before I try a larger amount.  There are there are numerous different kinds of protein powders out there, so see what’s best for you.

The final product tasted like a chocolate brownie.  Not too bad for a breakfast dessert.


The rest of the lunch crew.


Spinach, forbidden rice, seitan, and Bragg’s liquid aminos on top.


I studied the ingredient list for this Clif MoJo Mountain Mix bar forever.  It’s long, that’s for sure, but it’s partially-redeemed by the fact that it’s organic.  Fructose is my deal breaker.*  So although the bar has processed soy protein isolate (from the soy rice chips), which I didn’t like, the sources of sweetener were brown rice syrup, oat syrup and chocolate chips, which works for me. *For more details on why see this site.


Other goodies included candied ginger, dark chocolate kisses, banana, and carrots.

And why not round out the WIAW nature of this post with dinner…


Quinoa quiche (this version made in a pie pan) with a side of peas.

I had this granola for dessert.

What’s your ingredient list deal breaker?

It’s hard to find the time to make things as opposed to buy them…from bread, to seitan, to nut butters, to health bars…it gets exhausting.  However, budget and GI woes are huge factors in why I spend my days off in the kitchen.  Plus I love cooking.  And eating.  The fact of the matter is, I have been feeling way better since following a low FODMAPs diet and knowing exactly what’s in my food is what makes it possible.

PS Low FODMAPs update here. <– last night’s live #fodmap twitter chat recapped

PPS Giveaway here. <– you have until tomorrow to enter!

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Comments (73)

  1. Shana

    Anything hydrogenated is a deal breaker for me. I also try to stay away from corn syrup in non-treat foods like ketchup, tomato soup, and dried fruits. It’s kind of annoying when they unnecessarily add these to food!

  2. Deanna

    Thats shady that they don’t list the ingredients for the Arbonne shake. Arbonne is big where I live. People do Arbonne house parties like tupperware parties.

  3. Abby

    I’m pretty diligent with my label reading and agree with most of yours in terms of keeping things natural and the list short, but anything with soy is strictly forbidden. Even a few soy crisps will send me into intestinal hell, as will coffee, so I have to keep an eye out for that.

  4. julianna

    It is strange how weirdly obsessed you are with these strange ingredients in food, yet you really aren’t in very good shape.

  5. Sarah

    This sounds stupid and SO unscientific, but I try to stay away from anything that includes some normal-ish food, x, followed by the word ‘solids’. I don’t really do the dairy thing, but a good example is milk solids. Just grosses me out.

    I also try not to purchase any candy that has as its first ingredient HFCS. I don’t buy much candy, but sometimes Red Vines just reallllllly hit the spot, and it’s hard to find licorice without HFCS as the first or second ingredient. BUT ALL THIS CHANGED YESTERDAY! I found a new kind licorice at Whole Paycheck and gosh, it is the best I’ve ever had. First ingredient on the list? Beet Syrup. Yum.

  6. Sarah

    Whaaa? This comment is pretty strange. I think Elise is in *great* shape.

  7. Lindsay @ biking before bed

    I recently found out I have a corn allergy so label reading has become important. Corn starch, malodextrin, baking powder. The list goes on and on!

  8. Melissa

    That was really mean! And not necessary considering it’s her blog and she is entitled to post accordingly.

  9. Elise (Post author)

    hooray! i bet the beet syrup also saves you from faux coloring chemicals later down the ingredient list too – win win!

  10. Elise (Post author)

    dont i know it – maltodextrin and malt derived ingredients are in EVERYTHING! i have to watch for those too because the malt is a source of fructose (a FODMAP food) that i need to limit myself.
    the corn and soy industries have completely monopolized processed foods, so its basically impossible to avoid them.

  11. Elise (Post author)

    haha, thats hilarious!

  12. Elise (Post author)

    ps i emailed the company and they are going to respond w an ingredient list.

  13. Katie @ Peace Love & Oats

    My biggest deal breakers are gluten, white sugar and soy because I can’t eat them at all! And anything like hydrogenated vegetable oil or things I just don’t understand… I like to know what I’m eating.

  14. Yolie @ Practising Wellness

    A deal breaker for me is any kind of dairy – so yogurt, milk proteins or milk deriviaties, whey or whey protein – I cannot eat those without really bringing on a bad bout of eczema – it is actually quite challenging and restrictive – because I also can’t eat soy in large quantities, or tomato based sauces, for the same reason. Grrrr! 😛 I love reading your blog though because you truly do inspire me with your homemade food, and amazing packed eats! <3 xyx

  15. Maryann

    im so confused by this comment too! I would seriously trade my body for Elise’s any day…and being an athlete my whole life, I consider myself to be in good shape.

  16. Nadine

    Any animal products or by-products are deal breakers for me, but that aside, I avoid anything with the words hydrogenated. Also anything that isn’t an added vitamin, but sounds like “hydra-tetra-phosphate-cyclomide” Haha – you know those crazy chemicals!

  17. nelly

    here’s a link i found…not sure if you’ve already seen it.

  18. nelly

    oh here’s a list of ingredients for the protein powder you’re looking for:

  19. Lee

    Malitol is a big one for me. Kills my stomach. Sorbitol too.

  20. Katie

    I try hard to make most of my food these days…which is a whole lot easier without a full time job. 😉

    Any kind of fake sweeteners tear my belly to shreds, so I steer clear.

  21. Persephonie

    I try to stick with foods that have an ingredient list that I can pronounce, I try to avoid palm oils and also fructose. My husband LOVES (truly hates) going grocery shopping with me as I read nearly every label before putting it in the cart:)

  22. Amanda Marie

    My number one deal breaker is high fructose corn syrup. I avoid fake sweeteners, too. Since I’m a vegetarian, I hate finding out that something has gelatin in it, or chicken stock, so those are obviously huge deal breakers. I try to avoid anything that’s too synthetic.

  23. Jennifer

    Eggs gross me out. Anything with eggs is a deal breaker. I am surprised to see you eat eggs. That’s so gross. Think about what they are.

  24. Abby

    And for what it’s worth, what would it matter what her body looked like? Educated people make educated decisions about their health–including food choices–so that they can be healthy and environmentally responsible, not so they can look like a supermodel.

    The end.

  25. Meagan

    Haha I just found that one too. Fructose is listed as a sweetener so I guess small quantities will be neccessary. It sucks when you find products that are perfect nutritionally and taste great but then they add in that ONE ingredient that kills you. For me – inulin.

  26. nelly

    if you have a problem with her posts, why do you read? grow up. don’t judge.

    i also think elise is in fabulous shape!

  27. julie

    cute kisses! hahahaha i had to

  28. Tiffany

    Hi Elise,

    I’ve been reading your blog for a while now, and want to say I love seeing your packed foods for work, as I’m in a similar situation and have to pack foods for the whole day – great inspiration! (:
    For me HFCS is a big one, I’m lucky where I don’t react to anything particularly (used to have very bad IBS so enjoying seeing your progress with FODMAPS!), so I just try to keep it as natural as possible. It annoys me where companies add in so many unnecessary unnatural ingredients, and where things have four or more different types of sugar just seems crazy!

  29. Shana

    I do the same thing! It’s like a 2 hour excursion!

  30. sarah

    I do know they make mostly vegan products (skincare) etc, so I would think that the powder is vegan, but not sure of the fructose content…

  31. Kelsey

    haha love that breakfast-making technique. as long as it ended up tasting like a brownie, it’s all good!

    I have quite a few deal breakers, but you know what’s weird? I’ve slowly realized that I don’t love parsley! I was picking it off and it occurred to me that sometimes it makes me gag. Who knew?

  32. Jin

    Anything chemical is a deal breaker..yet there are products I still buy even though I know it’s not best for me! Like kraft light peanut butter…can’t live without it.

  33. Sarah

    Have you ever tried kamut flour? Its kind of sweet. I got some recently and mix it in peanut flour and oats. Its a good thicker and adds texture to things.

  34. edyta

    so well said!

  35. Ashley @ Cooking for John

    HFCS and isolated soy protein are deal breakers for me. As well as meat and dairy!

  36. Yalanda

    Here is the Vanilla Protein Shake ingredient list. I know someone who is an Arbonne Consultant. They sell skin and body care products.
    Supplement Facts
    Serving Size 2 scoops (42 g Servings Per Container 30
    Amount Per Serving % Daily Value†
    Calories 160
    Calories from Fat 35
    Total Fat 3.5 g 6%
    Saturated fat 0g 0%
    Trans fat 0 g
    Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
    Total Carbohydrate 13 g 4%
    Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
    Soluble fiber 1 g
    Insoluble fiber 0 g Sugars 9g
    Protein 20 g Vitamin A (as retinyl palmitate) 620 IU 12% Vitamin C (as ascorbic acid) 9 mg 15% Vitamin D (as ergocalciferol) 50 IU 15% Vitamin E (as d-alpha tocopheryl acetate) 5 IU 16% Thiamin (as thiamin hydrochloride) 0.22 mg 15% Riboflavin 0.25 mg 15% Niacin (as niacinamide) 3 mg 15% Vitamin B6 (as pyridoxine hydrochloride) 0.3 mg 15% Folate (as folic acid) 61 mcg 15% Vitamin B12 (as cyanocobalamin) 1 mcg 17% Biotin 25 mcg 8% Pantothenic Acid (as d-calcium pantohydrate) 1.7 mg 17% Calcium (as calcium carbonate) 153 mg 15% Iodine (as potassium iodide) 23 mcg 15% Magnesium (as magnesium oxide) 61 mg 15% Zinc (as zinc oxide) 2 mg 13% Selenium (as sodium selenate) 11mcg 16% Copper (as copper sulfate) 0.3 mg 15% Manganese (as manganese sulfate) 0.3 mg 15% Chromium (as chromium chloride) 18 mcg 15% Molybdenum (as sodium molybdate) 11mcg 15% Sodium (as sodium chloride and sodium citrate) 390 mg 16%
    Potassium (as potassium citrate)
    130 mg 4%
    Stevia (leaf) extract (95% Steviosides) 176 mg **
    InneR G-PleX 37.5 mg ** Coenzyme Q10, Alfalfa (leaf) powder, Kelp powder, Ginseng (root) powder arbonne Protein Matrix Blend 20 g ** Pea Protein, Cranberry Protein, Rice Protein
    †Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. **Daily Value not established.

  37. Elise (Post author)

    thanks yalanda!

  38. Pingback: FODMAP deal breakers « FODMAPS diet

  39. Amy

    I just started the low FODMAP’s diet (loosely, I’m waiting to see a dietician for advice before I go all out) and consequently discovered your blog. I am loving it.

    I have IBS also and for years have known that I react to pizza (but I never knew what in it) and fructose. Just about all fruits were out of the question and even 6 strawberries in a smoothie tends to send me into all kinds of miserableness. I think the final straw for me was when I made a coconut milk ice cream using pure granulated fructose as the sweetener (I’m sure you know how that one went!) so I guess fructose is probably going to be my biggest problem additive and a definite deal breaker.

    I’m so glad I found your blog. It’s going to be very helpful (plus it’s always nice to know you’re not alone).

  40. Elise (Post author)

    hi amy! so happy you found me. i can totally relate to your IBS confusion. fructose (and other carbohydrate) sensitivities are such a random thing to have and yet it seems there are so many of us, so maybe its just education about identifying it in patients that needs to improve. anyway, i hope you continue to read and share your trials with me so we can both learn about this fodmaps stuff. if you didnt already see, ive started another blog just for fodmaps diet info (theres a link on the upper right corner of the sidebar, but its
    thanks for commenting – youre right, its nice not to feel alone in this.

  41. Amy

    Thanks 🙂 I actually found it first I think (either way, I’m subscribed to both now…won’t miss anything ;)).

    And yes, the whole thing is really confusing! No doctor or specialist I ever saw (and I saw a lot) ever mentioned FODMAPS to me. I did an elimination diet, but it was full of pears and other foods that aren’t meant to be eaten. As you can imagine, I had no success. Hopefully the word will keep getting out there and more of us can be helped.

  42. Elise (Post author)

    yeah. i have always done similar back-to-basics phases when my gut is acting up, but like you, they always included apples and clearly that wasnt the right way of doing it at all…now i know. hopefully i will continue to sort it out for us all 🙂

  43. Jennifer

    Also on the label for Arbonne’s Vanilla Protein Shake Mix (I’m looking at it right now), it states:
    OTHER INGREDIENTS: Fructose, sugar cane, natural vanilla flavor, sunflower oil, canola oil, cornstarch, soy lecithin, inulin, flax seed, cellulose gum, xanthan gum, carrageenan.

  44. Elise (Post author)

    such a bummer because even though i only sampled a small amount i still felt ok after. i may trial and error with it in small quantities to see what my trigger level is for symptoms…when i have a few days off 😉

  45. April

    Julianna, research IBS and you’ll understand why she is so obsessed with ingredients.

  46. Shauna

    Arbonne Protein Shakes are sweetened naturally with cane sugar and stevia extract. I drink these shakes everyday, and am looking at the ingredient list on the bag as we speak. 🙂 Hope this helps.

  47. Lalia

    Hi Elise,
    I am an independent consultant with Arbonne, and I’d be happy to help find information for anyone who’s looking to incorporate our protein shake into their diet. Both chocolate and vanilla flavors are certified vegan and gluten free. Each shake offers 20 grams of protein from cranberries, rice and golden peas, plus 20 essential vitamins and minerals.

    I’m including a link to the most current product knowledge sheet (PDF) below.

    Arbonne products are only available through independent consultants, and can be easily purchased online. Anyone interested can go directly to to order (if you don’t know a consultant personally, please feel free to use me as your consultant, and enter ID 19782101). Or you can go to my website,, where you’ll find an online catalog in the Shop Online section. You can also email me through the site with any questions.

    I hope this is helpful, and I look forward to reading more of these wonderful recipes and ideas for a healthy lifestyle!

  48. Amber

    I have a sample of the arbonne protein powder and it does have fructose in it (bummer for those of us on FODMAPS diet) but the premade arbonne shakes that come in individual cartons have stevia and cane sugar as sweeteners instead of fructose. I have one that I’m going drink tomorrow and see how my stomach feels.

  49. Nadia

    Here are the ingredient to the Arbonne shake

  50. Nadia
  51. Kenny

    The Arbonne protein mix ingredients are: pea protein isolate, cranberry protein, rice protein, sugar can, sunflower oil, natural vanilla flavor, corn starch, inulin, xanthan gum, flax seed, stevia leaf extract, gum acacia, guar gum. The protein is really good. Completely lactose and gluten free. One of the better mixes out there that I have found!

  52. Charlene Faber

    I am a little confused because a Jennifer commented about the other ingredients in Arbonne shake mix and I have my bag on my lap right now and it says nothing about fructose on my bag of Vanilla Protein Shake Mix. It says: Arbonne protein matrix blend (pea protein isolate, cranberry protein, rice protein), sugar cane, sunflower oil, natural vanilla flavor, corn starch, inulin, xanthan gum, flax seed, stevia leaf extract, gum acacia, guar gum.

    I have been drinking 2 of these per day and feel wonderful personally. Let me know if this helps : )

  53. Charlene Faber

    I am a little confused because a Jennifer commented about the other ingredients in Arbonne shake mix and I have my bag on my lap right now and it says nothing about fructose on my bag of Vanilla Protein Shake Mix. It says: Arbonne protein matrix blend (pea protein isolate, cranberry protein, rice protein), sugar cane, sunflower oil, natural vanilla flavor, corn starch, inulin, xanthan gum, flax seed, stevia leaf extract, gum acacia, guar gum.

    I have been drinking 2 of these per day and feel wonderful personally. Let me know if this helps : ) Btw…this is a brand new bag unopened that I just received this past week.

  54. Elise (Post author)

    this is a pretty old post, so they probably reformatted their mix. either way, ive gotten the info now so thanks.

  55. gigi eats celebrities

    Wait?! Arbonne doesn’t even list the ingredients on their packaging? Well that’s ridiculous! That’s a deal breaker to me right there! I must know what type of sugar is in the powder! I don’t eat sugar so I have to make sure stevia is what’s making it sweet! Oh and I don’t do fillers either! Blah! Olympian Labs Pea Protein however – YUM 🙂

  56. Heather

    Arbonne does list their ingredients on their packaging. I don’t think it is on the samples, but is definitely on the packaging because I have one right in front of me looking at it.
    My husband has used the Arbonne shakes for over a year now and they did USED to contain fructose, as well as a soy isolate. They were reformulated in January 2012 to contain NO soy and NO fructose. This is awesome for me since I am sensitive to fructose as well, and have been able to now enjoy the shakes too!

  57. Ron

    Fructose is matabolized by the body as a toxin. THe good lord made fiber as the antedote. When you strip (process out) the fiber you are posioning people. Any ingredient that has ISOLATE is processed and enzematically DEAD. This means no absorbable nutrition. Just like vitamins.
    Inulin and corn are highly GMO food fillers.
    What you guys are searching for in a good for you absorbable nutrition and no bad for you sweetners/fillers is only found in a protein shake from Zija. It is sweetnened with Cane sugar which is low glycemic and natural. Also unprocessed Stevia. Check it out

  58. Amber

    In April of this year Arbonne removed ALL fructose from products, so they are now frustose free! Just FYI. And you can get 100% of the ingredients from any Arbonne Consultant.

  59. Amber

    And they also removed soy lecithin!

  60. Amber

    In April of this year they removed Fructose and Soy Lecithin from the ingredients, so if you have anything with those in it then it was made before the change. Just FYI!

  61. Amber

    Yes, they do. Not sure where you heard that they don’t, but rest assured they do. And also on the website, Consultants have access to 100% off ingredients and where they come from. Not just some of the ingredients.

  62. Margery

    All protein powders are not created equal. See why Tri-Sorb proteins in ViSalus shakes work faster and longer than the rest. Are you up for the Challenge?

  63. Nicole

    Here is a link to the protein powder ingredients. 🙂 Hope this helps! Arbonne protein powders are awesome.

  64. Nicole

    Other ingredients: Arbonne Protein Matrix Blend (pea protein isolate, cranberry protein, rice protein),
    sugar cane, cocoa powder, natural chocolate flavor, sunflower oil, corn starch, inulin, xanthan gum, stevia
    leaf extract, flax seed, gum acacia, guar gum.

  65. Joyce

    I have some digestive issues including lactose intollerance and gluten sensitivity. I found Arbonne as a botanically-based skin care company but then I tried the nutrition line. It’s been great for me. I have had reflux for years and by removing gluten, I’ve cured the GERD entirely. I blend the protein powder with nutrient dense veggies such as kale or spinach, add flax seed or coconut oil, some fiber, chia seeds, and berries for antioxidants and I have that for breakfast and lunch. Tastes great, filling, no cravings. Dinner is of the Paleo variety. I feel 10 years younger and no digestion issues. Try the 30 day fit program. Eliminate dairy, gluten, soy, caffeine, alcohol, and sugar for 30 days and use the protein shakes. After day 30, reintroduce each one at a time and observe. Great way to have a better understanding of your sensitivities. I just finished 30 days but I feel so great, I’m just going to continue. Email me for more information at Good product for vegans and non-vegans.

  66. Audrey

    Hello, I stumbled upon your blog while researching protien shake ingredients. I was wondering if you heard back from Arbonne headquarters? I didn’t have any problem finding their nutrition label & ingredients online. In fact, I am a consultant with Arbonne and am very impressed with their philosophy and high quality ingredients.
    I hope you got your answer. By the way, Arbonne is based in the United States in CA. Thanks for your blog! I will come back:)

  67. Audrey

    Oops, guess I should have read further:)

  68. Mary

    Arbonne protein powder ingredients list :

  69. Shana Recker

    Here is the most current ingredient list from Arbonne’s Meal Replacement Protein Shake. There is no fructose or artificial ingredients. Everything is recognized by the body.

  70. Shana Recker

    And in case you can’t open the attachement that contains the ingredients here they are:

    Arbonne Meal Replacement Protein Shake:
    INGREDIENTS: pea protein, organic sugar cane, whole grain brown rice, rice syrup solids, non-dairy creamer from sunflower,
    inulin, pea fibre, potassium citrate, brown rice protein, sunflower lecithin, natural vanilla cream flavor, cellulose fibre, sugarcane
    fibre, flax seed, xanthan gum, gum arabic, guar gum, ferrous lactate, calcium phosphate (dibasic), magnesium oxide, beta
    carotene, ascorbic acid, niacinamide, d-alpha tocopheryl acetate, copper gluconate, biotin, zinc oxide, manganese sulfate, retinyl
    palmitate, sodium molybdate, d-calcium pantothenate, sodium selenite, pyridoxine hydrochloride, ergocalciferol, vitamin B2,
    thiamine hydrochloride, potassium iodide, chromium chloride, folate, cyanocobalamin.

  71. Dalton Lowrance

    Thank you for your post. Great.

  72. Laura

    here is the Link for the ingredients of the Chocolate Protein Powder!!
    Enjoy 🙂

    if you would like to order anything please Email me at

  73. Lisa

    Arbonne states the shakes are gluten free but are processed on shared equipment. How can they be truly gluten free then? Are they safe for people with celiac disease?

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